When you’re sick you’re sick. That’s all there is to it. There are various degrees of sick though, that comes from a client’s perspective. NOTE not all clients think like this, but there are some that do, and I’ve seen my fair share over the past 5 years.

When you’re working on your own, you can be stuck between a rock and a hard place. You need to keep turning over the hours so you can get paid. Sometimes, though, you physically can’t for whatever reason. I had an employer once who wanted to drop my performance review rating because I had the audacity to get sick and require 3 weeks off work. When I challenged him about his reasoning, he simply said. “But, you weren’t here”. Here is how some employers or clients can make you feel when you tell them you’re sick.

  • If you can open your eyes you’re well enough to work, so they’ll keep emailing and calling you.
  • If you can sit for longer than 5 minutes, you can come into the office.
  • If you can string several words together, you are still coherent and can take calls.
  • If you’re breathing, what are you going on about?

Now some of you reading will this will not be able to relate to this post. In which case, take note, because you will … one day.

Recently I came down with a bad infection and needed antibiotics so I chose not to go to a client’s office to work. I stayed in my own office, kept my germs to myself and spent a couple of hours making sure the stuff I needed to do was done. I notified my VA network that I wasn’t well and they just continued along as they do without the skip of a heartbeat.

Being organised and having a system in place to help at times when you’re too sick to work, will keep the wheels turning so that any ripples don’t register on your client’s radar screen.

How you can plan for sick days

  1. Don’t feel guilty, I can’t stress this enough, it’s never your fault.
  2. Don’t force yourself to keep working because you will only make mistakes.
  3. Know what tasks you have on for the week. Your task list always needs to be up to date so you can check at a glance.
  4. Don’t wait until the last-minute to meet a client’s deadline, this is poor planning (refer to said task list).
  5. Contact each of your clients’. Tell them you’re not going to be around for that day or the next two days. You’re not giving them an option here!
  6. Refer to your Disaster Recovery Plan if you need to (you should have one) or your Policy and Procedures (you should have them). What did you put in place for this very thing?
  7. Have a trusted friend who can contact client’s on your behalf should anything serious happen to you.
  8. Share your disaster recovery plan / sick policy or procedure with a trusted friend / VA just in case they need to put things in play for you.

For those who are just starting out, the silo effect of isolation can be deafening when we really need to reach out. Don’t make the mistake of not finding that trusted person.

Remember, by taking the actual timeout you are going to recover quicker than you would by trying to keep going. Your servants heart can keep you in conflict here but you need to remember, that if you are not operating at your absolute best, you’re not going to be able to give your client your absolute best.

There are some things you can plan for and some things you can’t, by having good process and procedures in place in the advent that something happens, your business will take care of itself until you’re back on your feet.

I’d love your thoughts on this. What have you got in place?